App developers have created a “self-care” health tool for older LGBT people.
SAGE, a British software company, says the app will help LGBT seniors stay on top of their health, as figures show that 1 in 3 HIV-positive people in Britain is aged 50 or over.
The picture is more stark in the US, where 59% of all Americans living with HIV are aged 50 or over – a number expected to climb to 70% by 2020.
The ‘Health Storylines’ digital app will allow older LGBT users to create a personal “story” for their health.
Prince Harry had an HIV test earlier this year, and encouraged others to do the same
The app was launched on June 5th to mark HIV Long Term Survivors Day.
This date marks the anniversary of when – on June 5th 1981 – the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention first publicly discussed its findings on HIV.
The infection was then thought to be a mysterious new illness that was killing gay men.
The free app will remind users to take their medication and will monitor their daily symptoms.
The app also allows users to share information on their symptoms and medicine with doctors and other professionals.
“We are very excited to launch a new app called SAGE Health Storylines, focusing on the needs of our community by helping HIV older adults to engage in their self-care and make better daily health decisions,” said Diosdado Gica, SAGE’s chief program officer.
“It’s incredibly user-friendly and can enhance conversations between app users, their health care providers, and care managers.”
Earlier this year experts warned that the UK’s ageing HIV-positive population creates a social care “timebomb”.
The ‘Uncharted Territory’ report, published by HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, found that the over-50s account for 1 in 3 HIV-positive people in the UK.
The report also found that nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of people aged over 50 living with HIV are living in poverty – double that seen in the general population.
Eighty-four percent of respondents, meanwhile, said they were concerned about their future financial plans.
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said when the report was published: “Advances in HIV treatment mean that people with HIV are living longer and we are now seeing the first generation of people growing old living with HIV.
“This is good news – but it also means we’re entering uncharted territory.
“Many of these individuals were diagnosed when HIV was considered fatal and never expected to live beyond a couple of years – as a result, they’re less likely to have savings or pensions, and many have become socially isolated.
And since then thousands more have been diagnosed with the highly stigmatised condition.”